The All-Star Break has finally reached its end and now our full attention can turn to the trade deadline. The Nats biggest need is bullpen help and particularly back of the bullpen help. The Nats have struggled all season to fill the void left by Tyler Clippard and now have a chance to do that with the trade deadline. No I may view certain players different than some other Nats bloggers but my list of players I do not want the Nats to part with is Lucas Giolito, Trea Turner, and Joe Ross.
Joe Ross was only in the majors for a small period of time but he had the mound presence of a top of the rotation pitcher. In many ways he reminded me of Jordan Zimmermann. He doesn't have the pure stuff of a Lucas Giolito or Reynaldo Lopez but his combination of stuff and mound presence makes him just as capable of being a top of the rotation pitcher. If Joe Ross is part of a deal I am either going to label it a poor trade by the Nationals or it is going to have to be for a young, controllable already in the majors star.
It is no secret by now that I desperately want the Nationals to trade for Aroldis Chapman and while the Reds should shop Chapman around for the best deal don't think buying teams don't have leverage also. The Nats need a back of the bullpen arm. Chapman is just one of those guys out there. The Nationals have the ability to offer a prospect package to the Reds and if they decline they can take that same package or a similar one and offer it around for different back of the bullpen pitchers.
In most cases I am of the belief that fans overrate prospects but this trade deadline I think they're being underrated some. It might be the yearly tradition where everyone is surprised at the low cost of veterans being traded or it could be that the Nats have too many good prospects. Remember the reason the Nationals were able to trade Robbie Ray for Doug Fister is that no other team was willing to give up young pitching. The Nationals have five legit pitching prospects in their system and I don't think anyone would argue that AJ Cole has the lowest upside, but he still has the upside to be a 3/4 starter.
If the Nationals just had Giolito and Cole people would think of Cole much differently but because he's fifth and not likely to be part of a future Nats rotation I think people undervalue him some. Cole has many aspects of a valuable trade chip. First off he's a young pitcher, secondly he is controllable for up to seven seasons, and finally he's major league ready. The question is does it hurt the Nats with other GMs that AJ Cole is their 7th best prospect or will they be able to look past that and see what they were if he were their third or fourth best prospect?